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Lemonade Brigade to collect donations for families affected by fatal crash

Volunteers set up for customers before the opening of a lemonade stand during the fourth annual Lemonade Brigade Spring Spectacular on June 8, 2018, at Veterans Memorial Park in McHenry.
Volunteers set up for customers before the opening of a lemonade stand during the fourth annual Lemonade Brigade Spring Spectacular on June 8, 2018, at Veterans Memorial Park in McHenry.

The family of a McHenry teen and three surviving passengers involved in a fatal Friday night crash will be the recipients of a charitable lemonade stand expected to set up shop Wednesday.

The Lemonade Brigade is a nonprofit organization composed of local children who sell lemonade and donate their earnings. The group has plans to set up traditional and drive-thru stands from 4 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at its tentative Knox Park location.

Proceeds will benefit the family of 16-year-old McHenry High School – West Campus sophomore Danielle Thomas and three surviving teenage girls who were injured in the crash. Customers also can contribute to a communal donation jar that will be split among the families, volunteer Chrissy Christiansen said.

“We have eight teenage brigade girls in our group, and they all know these girls and knew Danielle,” Christiansen said.

Thomas was one of five teens involved in a crash at 10:18 p.m. Friday at Route 12 and Case Road.

A preliminary investigation revealed that a black Hyundai Elantra traveling south on Route 12 crossed the center median shortly after passing Case Road and entered the northbound lanes on Route 12.

At the same time, Thomas was driving a gray Ford Focus north on Route 12, approaching Case Road. The Hyundai crashed into Thomas’ vehicle in a head-on collision.

Three of Thomas’ passengers – two 14-year-olds and one 15-year-old, all of McHenry, were taken to nearby hospitals.

The 18-year-old driver of the Hyundai was freed from his vehicle and taken to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington. Thomas was freed and also taken to Advocate Good Shepherd, where she later died.

“You can’t just help but feel for everyone involved,” Christiansen said.

The Lemonade Brigade is in the process of obtaining a permit to operate at Knox Park. Changes to the event time or location will be posted organization’s Facebook page at Facebook.com/lemonadebrigade.

A separate fundraising effort on the crowd-sourcing website, Gofundme.com, had raised $19,935, surpassing its initial $15,000 goal. Visitation is scheduled for Thursday and Friday with a private funeral Mass at Justen Funeral Home and Crematory, 3700 W. Charles J. Miller Road, McHenry, according to Thomas’ obituary.

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